In 1980 the Secret Witness Program was formed as a result of the death of teenager Richard E. Swanson. Richard was killed during a robbery of a South Lake Tahoe gas station. Businesses and citizens raised nearly $10,000 as reward for information to an arrest of Richard's killer.
This tragedy created the base for what has become a very successful law enforcement tool in South Lake Tahoe and surrounding communities. Since 1980, the program's directors, with the support and blessing of Richard's parents, have solicited the support of the South Lake Tahoe businesses and individuals to make the rewards more appealing to potential anonymous tipsters.
Because police officers are often unable to know everything that is going on in the community, citizen participation in law enforcement and crime prevention is crucial. The Secret Witness Program is designed to provide incentives to community members for becoming involved in crime prevention and resolution.
Reward money is drawn from a pot that is funded by donations from local businesses and individuals. Secret Witness Program funds are disbursed and monitored by a volunteer Board of Directors consisting of Lake Tahoe community members. The funds in the Secret Witness Program are used to pay for information leading to the arrest of suspects or the recovery of property.
Make an Anonymous Tip
When a citizen or visitor to the community becomes aware of a criminal activity, the individual can make an anonymous phone call to a hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week and provide the information. To become a secret witness, please call the Secret Witness Hotline at (530) 541-6800.